Outdoor Study Spots: How to make the most of Spring in the exam season

Outdoor Study Spots: How to make the most of Spring in the exam season

Spring has well and truly sprung, bringing more sunlight and life to campus. With most of us completing the semester online, libraries and flats can become claustrophobic and uncomfortable study spots. Instead of slaving away inside, now is the perfect time of year to grab an outside study spot, and get on the grind.

There are several considerations before choosing a spot. Is the wifi good? Are snackables and drinkables within reasonable walking distance? What’s the pollen like in the area? Would one be able to shmang freely and unjudged in the location? How long would it take me to run back to the nearest bathroom to go peepee? These are all the important things one needs to know before settling on somewhere to study.


Marsh Study Centre picnic tables

As I walked down Castle Street during Level 4 lockdown, spreading my legs, I observed people very smartly whipping out their laptops and sunglasses and settling down at the tables outside the Marsh Study Centre and getting their study on. Geniuses. This location is simply lovely, although the wind does whip around a lot, so hold onto your shit. The tables offer the perfect balance of sun and shade, Gardens New World is a short hīkoi away for study snack binges. The gardens are right there for little mental health breaks too, which we should all be taking while studying. The wifi connection is solid, and if you’re lucky, you might see a duck friend or two waddle by. 


Clocktower lawn

Make sure the ground is dry before parking your ass on the grass, please. However, if you do happen to sit on the wet ground, as I did, don’t worry. It’s everyone else’s choice whether they look at your bunda, not your problem babes. Anyways, this is a prime position to catch the sun when it’s out. Because this space is just a vast expanse of green. You could probably play golf on the lawn if you really wanted to, not that I know anything about golf.

You have to be able to study on the ground, with your materials sitting on your lap or beside you. I found this to be a challenge, especially with my formerly-athletic thighs that just won’t quit. There are some seats and benches lining the Clocktower building if that’s your jam, but the Clocktower intimidates me a bit because it reminds me that the University is a business that wrings us out for money that we don’t have. The wifi connection is still stable, but this spot is highly weather dependent.


St Daves picnic tables

This area intimidates me. Even as a fourth year, I still get anxious when the waves of first-year health scis who think they’re smarter than me because they made it to semester two roll in and out of St Daves. I braved my fears and sat out here to study for a wee while, and it was... fine? You’ve got the Leith and the Clocktower right there, which is something nice to look at when the blue light from your laptop screen just becomes a bit too much. A caution: you probably shouldn’t sit here if you get distracted very easily, as I do. The foot traffic in this area is heavy, even with classes being online. Every 50 minutes I get sidetracked watching people play runway down the strip of tiles in between St Daves and the Leith. Water fountains and food may be sourced nearby, with the St Daves cafe being literally right there, and Night ‘n Day a nice short stroll away. The wifi connection is stable, but can sometimes be a little slow at peak hours. Overall, this is a great option, but it is highly contested territory so it’s best to get in early.


Behind the Staff Club

This is a secret spot. It’s covered in shade with small streams of light slipping through the cracks of tree branches and leaves. If it’s a Monday and your brain and oculomotor system is still recovering from your big shift on the rark on Saturday night, this is the perfect place. People won’t look at you unless they know you’re there, and you’re surrounded by nature and the Leith. The cherry blossoms are out right now. It’s got hugely romantic vibes. The Staff Club is right next door. Allegedly, students are allowed to eat there — so if you're in the mood to wine and dine, carry on. The ladies bathroom in there is super cool, there’s a mirror on every wall.


The picnic area by Castle, Burns and the Link

This little area is lovely, it feels like a little green spring oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle. Kinda artificial vibes but I’m appreciating it for what it is. Watch out at lunch time on a sunny day, because this area becomes highly populated with Central Library gremlins (I can say that because I am one). This is a good spot because if it does end up raining, you can scuttle straight into Central. There are also many snack and meal vendors in the Link, Union, and all along Albany Street. Again, if you’re easily distracted, watch out because the foot traffic is also quite heavy here — especially with lectures starting back up in Castle. Wifi is secure, but if there are no benches available, you may need to check the grass for dampness to avoid outfit malfunctions.


Outside a cafe

An underrated but effective study spot is perching outside at one of the many cafes along George Street. If you are finding campus too overwhelming, and are in need of a change in scenery, try taking a stroll down George and setting up shop in commercial premises. You can either sit outside, or inside, and most places generally have free wifi. It’s an ideal spot for people watching, and of course you’ve got easy access to yummy and delicious food. Support local businesses, just remember to mask up and sign in.


Robertson benches

The benches outside Robertson make for another great option. Spaces are limited, and it’s guaranteed to fill up fast on a sunny day, so the early bird definitely catches the worm in this instance. There are plenty of snacks nearby with vending machines inside, and the Union Street Dairy of Fluid across the street. The wifi at the Robertson is somewhat questionable, and the benches may require you to sit awkwardly. Nonetheless, if you get in early, it’s a strong contender.

When this rain and wind eventually decide to behave themselves, I encourage you to venture outside, boss babes, and utilise the green space we have around campus to study. Being outside and getting into nature is so good for your mind and soul, so please make sure you get outside this study season. I’m begging you, you need it x

This article first appeared in Issue 24, 2021.
Posted 3:22pm Sunday 26th September 2021 by Susana Jones.